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OM 2.4.1 Appointment and Tenure of Department Chairs and Academic Program Directors Policy Statement

Policy Statement

Appointment. Departmental chairs and academic program directors are appointed by the Dean/Institute Director, after substantive consultation with all department faculty members and staff, and the approval of the Provost.

Initial appointments are to three-year terms and are eligible for re-appointment by the Dean upon evaluation of their performance. Terms normally start at the beginning of the Clarkson fiscal year. Department Chairs and academic program directors will be evaluated for performance annually, with a more detailed review at the end of a three-year term in advance of renewal. Review by the Dean/Institute Director, however, can occur at any time during the term of service.

Chairs and academic program directors may be recruited by the Dean/Institute Director from within the unit, from affiliate units, or through an external search at the direction of the Dean/Institute Director and approval by the Provost. The process shall consist of the following: (1) The Dean shall solicit statements from candidates that outline their qualifications, motivations, and future direction for the department. Such statements would preferably be in written form (email, memo, or similar) but may be provided in the form of a statement made and recorded in the minutes of a meeting help for that purpose among the department faculty and staff. (2) There shall be an opportunity for individuals to submit confidential personal comments to the Dean. (3) a ballot conducted by the current department executive officer or a faculty member selected for the purpose, with the results revealed to the department faculty and staff, dean, and office of the Provost. Such ballots shall be of an advisory capacity to the applicable Dean/Institute Director and the Provost in determining the appointment of any given chair. If any faculty member so requests to the Dean, the vote shall be conducted by secret ballot. When voting, faculty may submit (anonymous) comments regarding their vote choice or concerns about the selection process to the Dean/Institute Director or Provost. Candidate statements shall be shared with department faculty at least one week prior to the any ballot taken unless the department faculty deems otherwise. 

Term of Office: Department chairs and academic program directors (faculty administrators who oversee degree-granting programs, see OM 2.4.0.B) shall be appointed for three-year terms and are eligible for reappointment. In general, a maximum of two additional 3-year terms is typical, though in exceptional cases, a chair/academic program director may be appointed by the Dean/Institute Director for additional terms.

Before such reappointments, reviews and evaluations of their performance will be obtained from the department/academic program faculty and staff, as well as from appropriate administrative officers and faculty members. The department chair/academic program director can resign prior to the end of the term. Should the Dean/Institute Director desire to remove the chair, the case shall be referenced to a representative faculty review committee before taking action. Such a committee's findings will be reported in writing to the Dean/Institute Director and the Provost to arrive at a decision, with the Provost holding ultimate authority. 

Period of Duty. The department chair/academic program director will be appointed based on the academic year as with any other full time faculty member. The department chair/academic program director is responsible for the performance of department/academic program duties (OM 2.4.0) unless other arrangements are made in writing with the appropriate dean.

Department chairs are permitted to undertake summer assignments with or without additional remuneration within established University policies. 


November 1986

Revised February 1972

December 1986

July 1987

July 1996

Revised December 2019

February 2021

November 2023